Why Are Rates Higher Here Than Elsewhere?

Sangre de Cristo Electric Association (SDCEA) serves about seven members per mile of line, compared to investor-owned utilities such as Xcel Energy, which averages 34 customers per mile of line; and municipal utilities, which average 48 customers per mile of line. It is not attractive from a revenue standpoint for investor-owned utilities to provide service to rural areas for this reason. While we work hard to keep costs as low as possible, SDCEA’s smaller number of consumers must cover the costs of delivering power over nearly 1,800 miles of line on our system. Our locations are rural, hard-to-reach, mountainous, and rugged.

At SDCEA, we don’t benefit from the revenue that dense cities generate for utilities, and we don’t have large businesses to speak of to help carry the cost of providing service in this territory.

As an electric distribution cooperative, we don’t independently generate power. We buy it from others. While we do all we can to buy power as cheaply and as environmentally consciously as possible, the cost of electricity is going up here and around the country for a whole host of reasons.

When it comes to delivering power to your home or business, we in rural America are largely on our own. This means that SDCEA and our members bear the expensive burden of engineering, erecting, and repairing power-delivery infrastructure ourselves. We are also responsible for maintaining the system. The equipment, materials, and employee hours to do this work are expensive. We cannot spread these costs among a high number of consumers, so that means we have to be very careful about how we use the resources we have.

We want you to know that we are members of the cooperative, too, and we hear that you are concerned about costs. We want to assure you that we share those concerns as a locally-controlled nonprofit organization, and we are working every day to support our communities and keep costs down while providing safe and reliable electricity for you, our consumers. It’s a big job, but it’s one we take pride in.

SDCEA’s bylaws, rates, policies, board contacts, and the like are always posted on our website for our members to review. Create an account through the log on on the upper right-hand side of the page. Once on SmartHub, you can access these items either from the menu on the left or from the My Documents dropdown on the landing page.

We also welcome you to call us toll-free during business hours at (844) 395-2412 with any questions you may have about the cooperative.